What we know so far about the NY sports betting hearing
The hearing will be in the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee “to discuss the potential of sports betting in New York State.” It will take place on Jan. 24.
The witnesses for the hearing are still to be announced.
The hearing comes in the committee chaired by Sen. John Bonacic, who has led the charge to legalize both daily fantasy sports and NY online poker. While a DFS bill became law in 2016, the Senate has twice voted to legalize online poker in recent years before the legislation stalled in the Assembly. Online poker is again up for possible legalization in 2018.
There are several sports betting bills that have been in play in the past in NY. It’s not clear if one of those pieces of legislation will be discussed or if a new one will surface from Bonacic.
It’s also not clear whether New York will be considering online sports betting, like its neighbor Pennsylvania authorized in the fall.
Any action in states outside of Nevada is pending the verdict in the US Supreme Court about the validity of the federal sports wagering ban. The NJ sports betting case will be decided this year.
The back story of NY sports betting
New York already legalized sports wagering at its commercial casinos with a 2013 law that followed a referendum of voters. However, sports betting is not authorized anywhere else in the state under current law. That would include tribal casinos, horse racing tracks and off-track betting (OTB) facilities.
Would New York would go ahead with sports wagering at the commercial casinos without a new law opening it up to the state’s tracks and OTBs. That’s an unknown variable, at this point.
Bonacic had previously issued this statement to Legal Sports Report about sports betting in the state:
“Racing and Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law Section 1367 is enough for New York to move forward with sports betting, should the Supreme Court throw out PASPA. However, as you pointed out in your article, other entities are seeking the opportunity to offer it as well. That will be the subject of much discussion in the next legislative session.”
Looking at DFS, too?
This week, the Assembly version of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee will look at the NY DFS law. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The hearing comes more than a year and a half since a law was enacted in the summer of 2016. More from a notice about the hearing:
Since that time, 15 operators have applied for and received temporary permits from the New York State Gaming Commission to operate interactive fantasy sports contests in New York State, pending the promulgation of permanent regulations. … The purpose of this hearing is to examine the status of interactive fantasy sports in New York State and to evaluate its impact on the State Budget.
A new report predicts 18 states will introduce bills to regulate sports betting this year, with 11 having a good chance of passing legislation.
Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, which tracks gambling legislation nationwide, says that’s just the minimum; the firm predicts more than 30 states could introduce sports betting bills.
The U.S. Supreme Court this year will decide a case brought by New Jersey that seeks to overturn a ban on sports betting in all but four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. A favorable ruling in that case could open the floodgates in terms of states adopting a new form of gambling.
“Assuming a Supreme Court decision or action by Congress permits it, we could see the largest simultaneous expansion of regulated gambling in U.S. history with sports betting in 2018,” said Chris Grove, the company’s managing director.
The court is expected by June to decide New Jersey’s case, which seeks to overturn a ban on sports betting by any state that did not meet a 1991 deadline to legalize it. States and private companies in the U.S. and abroad are already moving quickly to position themselves for a favorable ruling.
States listed as likely to introduce a sports betting bill are: Massachusetts; Rhode Island; New York; New Jersey; West Virginia; South Carolina; Georgia; Florida; Illinois; Michigan; Iowa; Minnesota; Louisiana; Mississippi; Oklahoma and California. Indiana and Kentucky already have introduced bills.
Pennsylvania and Connecticut have already passed bills. Grove said Delaware is arguing that it doesn’t need to pass a bill due to gambling legislation already on the books, and added Mississippi may not need to pass a bill. He said an argument has been made that that state’s fantasy sports bill also authorized sports betting.
The report listed 11 states as having a good chance of enacting sports betting bills this year: Massachusetts; Rhode Island; New York; New Jersey; West Virginia; Ohio; Michigan; Illinois; Oklahoma; Kentucky and Indiana.
It also listed states where the introduction, much less adoption, of a sports betting bill is considered unlikely: Tennessee; Alabama; Arkansas; Texas; Kansas; Nebraska; North and South Dakota; Wyoming; Utah; Idaho; Alaska and Hawaii.
States across the nation are looking for new sources of revenue, and adding or expanding gambling is seen as an attractive option for many. While not vouching for the political likelihood of any particular state adopting gambling legislation, David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, said the predictions are “definitely in line with the historical trend of states turning more to gambling.”
Sports betting is seen as most likely to be offered through commercial or tribal casinos, or state lotteries. Some analysts and industry observers also feel that a Supreme Court ruling legalizing sports betting nationwide would prompt a rapid expansion of internet betting, as states will move to allow it to be offered online.
Race Wagering News
Three leaders in the New York Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry provided testimony on the potential ramifications of sports betting in the state during a public hearing of the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering held Wednesday in Albany.
New York Racing Association CEO and President Chris Kay, was joined by New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Joseph Appelbaum, and New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo in support of the industry taking a leadership role should sports wagering move forward in the state. Citing racing’s long history of working under New York State’s regulatory framework to provide quality wagering services, the three men said racetracks were well-positioned to provide the public with greater consumer choice, added convenience and a trusted place to bet on sports.
In addition to their testimony before the committee, Kay, Appelbaum and Cannizzo released the following statements following Wednesday’s meeting.
NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay: “The New York Racing Association possesses more than 60 years of experience working under comprehensive state regulatory oversight to provide our loyal customers with quality wagering services. It is because of that quality service and depth of experience that horseracing organizations like NYRA should be able to offer sports wagering within a continued framework of effective state regulation. To limit this service to casinos, who collectively possesses far less history and experience in New York, would disrupt long-standing relationships and deprive our residents with consumer choice. That is why we ask the state, when considering the future of sports gambling, to permit NYRA racetracks to offer this service to increase competition and consumer choice to provide the best possible wagering services for our residents.”
NYTHA President Joseph Appelbaum: “The Thoroughbred horsemen of New York strongly support extending sports wagering to the existing bet-taking system with its well-known history, integrity and participants. New York has a unique opportunity to establish a modern wagering architecture designed to serve the residents of New York, support jobs and deliver a consistent revenue stream to state government. When considering the future of sports wagering, we would encourage the state to utilize the existing network of racetracks and OTBs because it is the best way to ensure a widely available, well-regulated system that best serves New York and its residents.”
NYTB Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo: “The New York Thoroughbred Breeders is proud of the racing product New York currently offers, and is open to encouraging opportunities for new gaming dollars in the state. We look forward to working with NYRA, the horsemen and owners, as well as our friends in the casino industry, and the state, to ensure that the most successful form of sports betting is made available to New York residents. We believe that racetracks and OTBs, along with digital platforms like NYRA Bets, have a rightful place in the future of sports betting in the state. That is why we believe that now is the time to begin the process of amending state law and, if necessary, the State Constitution, to be ahead of the rest of the country in the event that PASPA is wholly struck down by the Court.”